Telephone Planet!!John Domingue, Wednesday 24 May 2000 | Annotate
Forget about reading news on your WAP phone. Roving KMi reporters can now phone their stories directly to Planet, thanks to a custom gateway built by John Domingue and Peter Scott. This means that breaking news can be dictated straight down the phone line, whereupon it is formatted for KMi Planet and made available instantly for audio playback via RealPlayer.
For convenience, the headlines accompanying such stories are sent using any SMS (Short Messaging System) or WAP (Wireless Applications Protocol) mobile phone. The headline is intercepted by one of Domingue's email software agents, which recognizes the author, formats the headline and byline, and inserts a pre-stored database image accordingly. At this point, one of Scott's audio encoding software agents is triggered into action in the same way: it automatically receives the story, converts the story into RealAudio, stores it on the server for linking into KMi Planet, and phones back the reporter to let them know that the story is now live.
This service was conceived out of the frustration experienced by members of staff trying to retrieve breaking news stories on a WAP phone, and the even greater frustration involved in submitting such stories by phone. The key idea was the notion of sending a short headline using the keypad on existing SMS or WAP phones, and then dictating the body of the story using voice telephony, with agent software undertaking the necessary conversions.
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